On Wednesday, All-Star catcher and franchise cornerstone Yadier Molina slid feet-first into third base on a innocent-looking play:
The result: gulp.
Molina surgery Friday. Torn ligaments. Could miss 8-12 weeks.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) July 10, 2014
You might be able to think of a more valuable player to a team's playoff hopes, but you'll get an argument. Molina might be back in time for the playoffs, but he's important enough to the Cardinals to wonder if there will be a playoffs for them this year. Tony Cruz is the backup catcher currently on the roster, with current Redbirds catcher Audry Perez the other backstop on the 40-man roster.
A.J. Pierzynski is available! I picture him showing up in a tank top, being handed a pamphlet on the Cardinal Way, and crumpling it up and playing hacky-sack with it before security escorts him out. Could work, though.
It's possible the Cardinals will explore a minor trade, possibly for surprising All-Star Kurt Suzuki, but for now all they know is they lost the player they could least afford to lose. You can't even slide-shame him for sliding head first. In the three-second span of a harmless grounder and a freak slide, the Cardinals' pursuit of the Brewers in the NL Central took a serious hit.